Iraq Weighs Heavily on New Jersey Voters

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After a month in which U.S. casualties in Iraq spiked to more than a hundred killed, 70% of New Jersey voters—a new high—say the U.S. military effort is going “not too well” or “not well at all.”  According to the most recent results of Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind Poll, 65% of New Jersey likely voters say that going into Iraq was a mistake, including nine of ten Democrats and six of ten independents. Still, six of ten Republicans say it was the right thing to do.

At the same time, the percentage of New Jersey voters who think the country is headed in the right direction touched a new low in the Bush presidency at 22%, while the percentage who say the country is on the wrong track hit a new high of 69%. Of those who say the country is headed in the wrong direction, eight of ten say going to war with Iraq was a mistake.

Ninety percent of Democrats say the country is on the wrong track, as do 71% of independents. Also, fewer than half of Republicans (46%) now say the country is on the right track.

“Elections have a way of crystallizing peoples' opinions. These numbers demonstrate that the war in Iraq is a powerful issue for Democratic voters,” said Peter Woolley, director of the poll and a political scientist at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “The aim of Democratic candidates for the House and Senate is to translate that into votes on Election Day.”

Only one in four likely voters rate the President's job performance as “good” or “excellent” while nearly half (48%) say “poor.”  Among Democrats, three-quarters (76%) rate the president's performance as “poor” while none rate his performance as “excellent.” A majority of Republicans (57%) rate the president's performance as “good” or “excellent.”

Just one-third (32%) of likely voters approve of the way George W. Bush is handling his job; 63% disapprove.  Of those who say intervention in Iraq was a mistake, 86% disapprove of the president's performance. Of those who say going into Iraq was the right thing to do, three-quarters (77%) approve of the president's handling of his job.

“These numbers show how heavily developments in Iraq weigh on the public,” said Woolley, “and how heavily they weigh on people's view of the president. Moreover,” he added, “these numbers weigh heavily against Republican candidates.”

The PublicMind poll of 577 randomly selected likely voters statewide was conducted by telephone from October 25 through October 31 and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.



Contacts: Peter Woolley 973.670.3239; Dan Cassino 973.896.7072

For more information, please call (973) 443-8661.

Copyright © 2006, Fairleigh Dickinson University. All rights reserved. FDU PublicMind Poll [Latest update 061101]